Arsene Wenger has claimed that he should have left Arsenal a decade ago, with 2007 being the first year in which he “could tell there were problems inside the board.”
Wenger took over as manager of Arsenal in 1996 and oversaw one of the most successful periods in the club’s history.
However, the Frenchman’s stock began to fall, and he left in 2018, with the team no longer in the Champions League, a choice he now regrets.
In a new documentary named ‘Arsene Wenger: Invincible,’ the experienced manager opens up about his time at Arsenal. It follows his life from his youth in Alsace through the end of his coaching career.
“I identified myself completely with the club – that was the mistake I made,” said the 72-year-old, who now serves as FIFA’s head of global football development.
“My fatal flaw is I love too much where I am – where I was. I regret it. I should have gone somewhere else.
“Sometimes I wonder – was something broken after that Invincible season? 2007 was a decisive point. It was the first time I could feel there were tensions inside the board.
“I was torn between being loyal to the club and being loyal to David [Dein]. I still today wonder if I did the right thing because life was never exactly the same after.”
Wenger disclosed that he turned down offers to leave Arsenal during his prime, including Manchester United and Real Madrid, in favour of a longer stay in north London.
“I could have gone to the French national team,” he added.
“The English national team twice or three times even. I could have gone twice to Real Madrid. I could have gone to Juventus, Paris St Germain, even Man Utd.”
At Arsenal, Wenger won 17 domestic trophies and led the team to their first-ever Champions League final. Under his leadership, Arsenal won three Premier League titles, the latest of which they won without losing a game in 2003-04, making them the only team in the competition’s history to do so.
Wenger has also won seven FA Cups, three of which have come in the last four years.